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Igloolik students seek help to pay for Ottawa trip

A group of students at Attagutaluk High School have taken on a daunting task: raising $23,698.96 for a trip to Ottawa.

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEAN McKIBBON

IGLOOLIK — Their sign was written in hopeful-looking multi-colored block letters, but its message was daunting:

“THIS IS THE MONEY WE RAISED $6,301.04. WE STILL NEED $23,698.96 FOR OUR TRIP TO OTTAWA.”

A group of Grade 10 students at Attagutaluk High School in Igloolik are trying to raise money for an exchange trip to Ottawa.

Last week, they told people who had gathered in Igloolik for the Northern Sciences Award and return of the sun ceremony how far away they were from their goal.

“Were ambitious,” said a confident Jefferson Uttak. “It’s something we started talking about back in Grade 9. We’re finally doing something about it.”

Uttak and his classmates want to visit students at a French high school near Ottawa in a place called Rockland. They also want to visit the Parliament buildings, go shopping, and check out some of the capital’s museums. But they have to raise a lot of money first.

“We’ve been doing a lot of bake sales, pretty soon we’ll be going door to door selling chocolate bars. A lot of us have also been selling personal stuff we don’t want anymore. And we’ve been writing a lot of letters,” said Uttak.

Uttak’s teacher, Jodi McMahon, said the project started out as an attempt to take advantage of a YMCA visions trip last year, but some her students were to old to qualify for the program. Now the trip fits in well with the social studies and Canadian history course her students are taking right now.

“Our goal was to be able to go this May,” said McMahon, but fundraising still has a long way to go she said.

The students are waiting to hear back from the federal government to see if they can qualify for Millennium Partnership funding, and she said the federal ministry of Heritage also has some bursaries to promote cultural exchanges with French students.

“I used to be a French teacher, so I’ve been teaching my students some French and the students in Rockland I think have been trying to learn a little Inuktitut,” McMahon said.

Response from local Igloolik businesses to the students’ fund raising efforts has been good, she said. Uttak said the local co-op had donated $150 to the cause, while the hamlet office had thrown in $1,500, the district education authority had donated $2,000, and NTPC had donated $200.

The QIA had also promised the students some money, said Uttak.

If the trip goes ahead Uttak said that Isuma Productions Igloolik’s local film and television production house have agreed to pay to send a videographer down with the class to document their trip.

“Everyone is trying to make this happen,” said Uttak.

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